Kentucky hasn’t won in Starkville for more than a decade. Mississippi State continued the dominance on its home field with a 28-13 win over the Wildcats Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats, who won two of the previous three games between the two teams, gave up an interception for a touchdown on their opening drive and never led as the Bulldogs handed Kentucky its second consecutive loss. Chance Poore misfired two field goals and the Wildcats missed at least three touchdown chances in the setback as Mississippi State (3-1, 1-0) bounced back from a 31-24 loss to Kansas State in its Southeastern Conference opener.
Kentucky (2-2, 0-2) got a solid effort from running back AJ Rose, who rushed for 105 yards, the team’s first 100-yard rusher this season. Lynn Bowden hauled in seven passes for 129 yards and Josh Ali had a career day with five passes for 61 yards. Quarterback Sawyer Smith threw for 232 yards, but threw an interception and was sacked three times. Kovosiey Smoke scored Kentucky’s lone touchdown on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats were 1-for-12 on third-down conversions but 3-4 on fourth down.
Mississippi State freshman quarterback Garrett Schrader stole the show in his first collegiate start. Schrader rushed for 125 yards and threw for 180 yards including passes to seven different receivers that went for 10 yards or more. Bulldogs standout running back Kylin Hill finished with 120 yards rushing and accounted for all three of Mississippi State’s offensive touchdowns.
Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel’s string of 10 consecutive starts came to an end Saturday. Daniel sat out the first quarter and wasn’t one of the team’s captains during the coin flip.
A video of Daniel apparently twisting Florida quarterback Kyle Trask’s ankle surfaced late last week, resulting in disciplinary action against Daniel. Chris Oats started in Daniel’s absence. Daniel finished with five tackles. Brandin Echols had 10 tackles and added one sack ad a tackle for a loss. DeAndre Square added a sack for a nine-yard loss and a tackle for a loss of five yards.
In his first start, safety Quandre Mosely had an interception in the second quarter and returned it 39 yards.
Kentucky takes on South Carolina Saturday night in Columbia. The Gamecocks fell to 1-3 and 0-2 in the conference following a 34-14 loss at Missouri Saturday.
Gametracker: Kentucky at South Carolina, 7:30 p.m. Saturday. TV/Radio: SEC Network, UK Radio Network.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.